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When Is It Time For Assisted Living?

It is time for assisted living when seniors show aggression, have sundowners, aren’t safe alone, care needs increase, or when their caregivers are becoming overwhelmed.

Making the decision to move a loved one to assisted living isn’t an easy decision.

There are signs and symptoms to watch for both in the senior and their caregivers.

We will help you understand more clearly the things to watch for to know when it’s time.

When Is It Time For Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a solution for families and seniors for when care needs exceed what can reasonable be given in the home.  Caregivers compassionately give of themselves and their time to care for the seniors they love.  Knowing when to admit the burden has become too great and avoid becoming ill from the stress is a hard and personal decision.

Care Needs Increase

Most seniors can use a little help with the heavy lifting.  But there comes a point where they need help more than their loved one’s can provide.  If you’re started to wonder if the senior’s safety is at risk or the people caring for them are burning out, it might be time to discuss a move to assisted living.

Senior Wandering

Humans are curious explorers and this doesn’t stop when someone gets dementia.  The problem comes when they aren’t sure where they are and become lost.  They can also fall and get injured while wandering.  This can happen in the blink of an eye while you change the laundry or use the restroom.

Aggressive Behavior

One of the most obvious signs is when a senior becomes physically or violently aggressive.  Family or caregivers may start to feel hurt, offended, and start to resent the senior when they experience this aggression.  This is a clear sign that the senior needs to be considered for assisted living.

Experiencing Sundowners

Sundowners is described as a senior who experiences behavior that’s very aggressive later in the day.  It is a common component of dementia.  When seniors begin responding or acting aggressively later in the day it can be very hard on caregivers.  This can push the needs of the senior past what family can provide.

No Longer Safe Alone

Seniors with dementia are forgetful by definition.  That means they may start cooking and turn on the stove or oven and forget about it.  This obviously can start a fire and be very dangerous.  Other ways seniors become unsafe is if they can’t navigate the home safely with stairs, they forget to take medications, or they are unable to drive safely.

Caregiver Burnout

The people who care for seniors whether it be family or paid caregivers can reach a breaking point with strain.  If the senior’s needs or aggression becomes too high it can be bad for the caregiver.  When caregivers are showing signs of strain like depression, loss of interest, or other common signs of stress it’s important to realize that the senior may be better cared for in an assisted living community.

Caregiver Stress Signs

Caregivers need to be observed nearly as much as seniors with dementia.  There are some common and disturbing symptoms of caregiver stress.  These include thoughts that won’t go away, avoiding people or experiences, hypervigilance, and anxiety that disturbs their life.

Causes of Caregiver Stress

Clearly caring for someone with dementia takes dedication and effort.  In addition to these pressures normal sleeping and eating patterns are disturbed for caregivers. When a person is constantly focused on caregiving and needs to be alert it affects a person physically.

When Caregiving Hurts

In the case where the caregiver is an adult child or especially when it’s a spouse of similar age the emotional, mental, and physical demands can easily become too much.  If a senior falls in the shower and the caregiver is unable to help them, it is a clear sign that assisted living is a better and safer choice.  Not only for the senior but also for those who are striving to care for them and suffering from it.

Caring For The Caregiver

While it’s obvious the senior needs care the caregiver is often overlooked.  With seniors near constant need for care of one kind or another it’s all too easy to neglect caring for oneself as the caregiver.  It is of paramount importance for the caregiver to stay healthy.  It enables them to live better and care for the senior better.

Take A Break

If it’s become clear as a caregiver that you’re burning out, take a break.  Have other family members come and see to the needs of the senior.  Another option is to organize a short stay in a care facility.  Either way will give the caregiver time to see to their own needs such as mental health.  Some caregivers benefit greatly from individual therapy and/or support groups.

Plan For Assisted Living Early

One of the best things a senior and their family can do is prepare a plan for when the move to assisted living should occur.  This relieves the caregiver of the burden of making this decision.  When early signs of dementia are clear it is a perfect time to have this conversation.  Make selections about which assisted living community is best.  Have all of the paperwork done.  It will be much easier to make this transition with a plan in place and the paperwork already done.

Arizona Assisted Living Communities

If you live in or want to retire to Arizona, you’re not alone.  With year round sun and mild winters Arizona is the perfect place to choose assisted living. SLS Communities offers Assisted Living Services at multiple locations near the Phoenix Valley and Sedona, AZ.  We proudly provide the very best of assisted living with compassionate care, chef prepared meals, and apartment style living.  Learn more about why so many seniors call an SLS Community home.

Call 480-348-0300 or Contact Us

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Difference Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

If you are wondering what the difference between assisted living and nursing homes are, this post will help you understand.  Many of us have visited a loved one and left feeling less confident about their ability to take care of themselves while living alone.  During these visits, often around the holidays, families realize that seniors in their lives no longer consistently have the ability to care for themselves.  This is the time to start thinking about senior living services, and there are a lot of options.

Understanding your options for senior retirement types will help you select the best option for your loved one.  Knowing the difference between assisted living and a nursing home makes the selection much easier.

Differences Between Assisted Living & Nursing Homes

The most significant different between assisted living and nursing homes is the visual presentation of the building and the scope of medical services provided at the location.

Décor and Appearance

When you tour these types of senior care facilities one of the first things you’ll notice is the difference in appearance.  Assisted living communities generally are decorated to resemble home or apartments while nursing homes tend to lean toward institutional properties.

In addition, assisted living residents typically have their own apartment style living quarters while nursing homes will have residents share spaces.

Medical & Assistance

Assisted living residents are seniors who might need some help with daily tasks but do not have a need for round the clock medical observation.  Seniors just needing some custodial care fit in well in assisted living communities.

In contrast, seniors who have complex medical conditions and need 24 hour a day medical monitoring benefit greatly from nursing homes.  Nursing homes also offer things like respiratory care, speech therapists, and other services geared toward seniors with more complex medical care needs.


Similarities Between Assisted Living & Nursing Homes

While there are some significant difference between the tow types of senior care services, there are many similarities between assisted living and nursing homes.  One of the major items both care types offer is help with “Activities of Daily Living”, which include help with showering, bathing, getting dressed, and other personal care tasks.

Read about the other things they have in common below:


Most seniors have been prescribed a number of medications that they need to take.  The frequency and dosage of these medications is critical in most cases, and needs to be followed carefully.  Seniors who are struggling to remember when or how much to take can end up in the hospital.  Both types of care manage medications for seniors living with them to ensure they are following the directions for each of the prescriptions.

Chores & Transportation

One common reason for seniors to choose to move into one of the two options is the help they receive with chores and transportation.  Taking care of laundry, dusting, mopping floors, and driving to the store or doctor appointments becomes too much.

Cooking & Nutrition

A big chore that either type of care provides is cooked meals and balanced nutrition.  Seniors are served 3 meals a day which are supplemented with snacks.  This is a great feature of both senior care types as it takes a major chore off seniors list of activities and helps get them the nutrition they need to stay healthy.

Social & Active

As seniors age they typically end up living alone and that isolation puts seniors at a higher risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression. Both types of senior care offer activities that are geared to meet seniors needs for emotional, physical, and even spiritual support.

Safe Properties

While the two types of properties may be decorated differently they do share the same needs for safety.  The rooms in both types of facilities are typically equipped with emergency call systems, grab bars, and handrails to keep seniors safe.

Assisted Living In Arizona

If you’re a senior or the family of a senior searching for quality assisted living in Arizona; SLS Communities can help!  With 5 locations in the state you’ll be able to find a great option for yourself or your loved one.  We offer assisted living, memory care, and independent living services so seniors can choose the level of service they currently prefer, while still having the option to easily move to higher levels of care when or if needed. For more information about SLS Communities assisted living services please call 928-284-9077 or read more on our assisted living page.

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Checklist For Assisted Living

Are you in search of an assisted living checklist which helps highlight the important things to look for when touring assist living facilities?

It is important that you are prepared when looking for an assisted living facility. Knowing the difference between various assisted living centers is also important, as no two communities or facilities are alike.

To stay ahead and remain organized, follow the checklist below, which can be downloaded. You should always compare differences between assisted living communities, and ask questions that assist in determining which community is the best fit for your loved one.

Assisted Living Checklist:

The following assisted living checklist should be used each time you call or visit a facility. Just download the checklist to make sure all the important questions are asked:

  • Do the staff members have the experience needed to diagnose and/or handle the issues of recipient?
  • Is staff able to provide medications?
  • How many staff members are on night shift?
  • What is resident to staff ratio?
  • Are nurses staffed 24/7?
  • What apartment types are available?
  • Are there assessments prior to admission?
  • What experience and training does staff have?
  • Are you able to describe your residents?
  • What are your payment and billing policies?
  • What are the monthly expenses for different apartment types?
  • What is your discharge process?
  • Are all services covered by the monthly fee? If not, what will additional costs be for extra services?
  • Is there a waiting list? If so, what is your wait list policy and how long is the wait?
  • If a resident needs a change, what services do they have available?

Assisted Living Tour Checklist

The following are things to know when taking a tour of an assisted living facility. You should also download the assisted living tour checklist to have with you.

  • Observe community events.
  • Focus on the cleanliness.
  • Look at the courtyard or outside area.
  • Does staff seem friendly?
  • Ask the staff and security questions, focus on how they respond.
  • Speak with some residents.
  • Eat one of the meals, what is it like?
  • Ask about personal care.
  • Learn the criteria for moving in or out.
  • Always follow your gut instincts.

Click Here To Download The Assisted Living Checklist 

About SLS Communities Assisted Living

SLS Communities Assisted Living communities are more than just another retirement community.  We offer welcoming, compassionate, and professional assisted living services to our valued residents.  We have locations in the Phoenix Valley that offer sunny summers and warm winters.  The communities are conveniently located near great restaurants, entertainment, gold courses, a wide variety of shopping centers, sports areas, cultural centers, and naturally all of the medical services desired withing just a few miles.

SLS Communities always strives to be the best retirement communities in Arizona by staffing our locations with the best professionals and offering residents active, vibrant, and a comfortable lifestyle that is as flexible as it is fun and exciting!

To schedule a tour of one of our assisted living communities please call 480-348-0300

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Assisted Living vs. Independent Living Differences

If you’re searching for Assisted Living vs. Independent Living Differences this post will help you understand the benefits of both types of retirement living services. It can appear the difference between assisted living and independent living can be non-existent for people that are not familiar with the variety of nuances with care and housing options that are available for seniors. To choose the best possible living situation for seniors requires understanding what makes these two community types different.

Living Space Layouts

There is a range of housing arrangements that is encompassed by the independent category, from communities with apartment style structures, to housing co-ops. Typically, residents will live within their own space and have a space to gather, referred to as the common area. This allows socializing with other community members. Another terms for independent living include, active adult community, retirement community, senior apartments, retirement home, 55+ community, or Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).

With assisted living, the general arrangement is apartment-style. Depending on the location, units may have full kitchens, but some may not. For assisted living communities which specialize in seniors that require memory care, security is usually increased, including added surveillance, ensuring doors are always locked, etc.). Also, cognitively impaired residents may not be allowed to have apartments with a kitchen, for safety reasons.

Amenities and care services

The goal of independent living communities is to enable residents to have an easier day-to-day routine. This enables seniors to remain independent for as long as possible. It is common for independent living to provide housekeeping and landscape services, security surveillance, meal preparation, and various other events and activities. However, the majority of independent living communities do not staff full time nursing or medical care providers. “The top advantage of an independent living community is receiving assistance with housekeeping and meal tasks, and a centralized hospitality service building for seniors to socialize” said Regina Wallace, Hebrew Home at Riverdale’s director of independent senior apartments and assisted living program. Hebrew Home is an organization providing geriatric service in Riverdale, New York. “Within these type of communities, the focus is not really with hands-on care.”

Assisted Living Details

The focus of assisted living is more aimed at assisting older adults that require help with certain activities, such as laundry, taking prescription medications, and bathing. These type of communities have round the clock staff, including some form of medical professional, often a certified nurse practitioner. In addition, some facilities have special units designed for memory care, for those with mild to moderate dementia. Although, assisted living communities do not offer an intensive amount of hands-on care that is required for seniors with physical or more serious mental ailments.

Shared Benefits of Both Retirement Community Types

Both assisted living and independent living communities offer scheduled recreation unique to specific facilities. Some of the more common activities include field trips, game nights, discussion and support groups, exercise classes, holiday celebrations, and continued education courses. In addition, transportation services are provided for shuttling residents to grocery stores, doctor appointments, and additional errands.

Ways to pay and other finical considerations

With independent living, rent is the primary cost for representing residents, according to Wallace. For seniors that live in Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) or a community which providesspecialize recreational activities, such a private golf course, could have extra expenses, such as a joining or membership fee.

Assisted Living Finances

With assisted living communities, seniors that require special are that is not covered under the standard rent contract will have additional expenses if a professional caregiver must be hired for assisting the resident.

In addition to differences in the health-related level of help residents are offered, the largest disparity between assisted living and independent living is the access of finical resources that both seniors and families may use to help with covering cost of living within the communities.

Independent Living Finances

Because residents are not provided a medical care service in independent living communities, government healthcare programs, such as Medicaid or Medicare will not cover the expense. Rather, seniors have to use their Social Security, retirement savings, pension income, or other personal funds for paying the cost of independent living communities.

Meanwhile, with assisted living expenses, seniors may use personal funds and savings. Specific long-term care insurance, life settlements, Aid and Attendance benefits of Veteran’s Administration, annuities and reverse mortgage funds can be used as well. Assisted living care coverage with Medicare is limited, typically only covering short-term stays, such as temporary illness or surgery recovery. Some financial assistance is offered by Medicaid as well, but guidelines vary between states.

Assisted Living & Independent Living in Arizona

If you or someone you know is considering the benefits of assisted or independent living the state of Arizona is one of the best places in the United States to do it.  SLS Communities has multiple locations in Arizona for assisted living and independent living in the state of Arizona.  Our communities are geared to be welcoming, friendly, and compassionate to residents living in any of our retirement living communities.

For more information about either assisted living or independent living
please contact us by calling 480-348-0300.

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Memory Care vs. Assisted Living

If you’re searching “Memory Care vs. Assisted Living” you’re likely a family member trying to find out what option is best for your beloved senior family member.  Making the right choice for your mom, dad, aunt, or uncle is important as you want to make sure they are getting the care they need in a compassionate and friendly setting.

When it comes to long-term senior care, assisted living and memory care are options that are quickly growing. Discover the main differences between these two forms of care, including the expenses, types of services provided, and how to determine the best community.

Defining Long-Term Care and Assisted Living

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at some point in life, nearly 70% of adults aged 65 or older will require long-term care.

As loved ones become unable to live independently, that is when the caregiver must face the challenging decision of which form of care to use, as long-term care options are not all the same. The two quickest growing forms of residential senior care include memory care and assisted living facilities, but do you know the differences in the two, or the main factors in determining which is best?

Assisted living is an available option if your loved one is still vital and active, but simply is unable to live independently and require help with daily activities, such as eating, dressing, or bathing. The Assisted Living Federation of America defines assisted living as “long-term care which combines support services, health care, and housing as required.” It is common for assisted living to provide personal care services, such as medication management, transportation, and around the clock care. Generally, seniors within assisted living communities also have options of a shared apartment or private room, depending on budget and preference.

As loved one’s age, they may need some added assistance with daily tasks, or require nursing care that I more specialized if they are suffering from age-related health conditions that affect mobility, such as dementia. In this case, assisted living communities are limited in the type of services that they can offer, but some are equipped to offer memory care services, commonly within a dementia special care unit (SCU).

Furthermore, assisted living facilities are not regulated by the government, but they must be licensed by the state of their location.

Memory Care vs Assisted Living

While memory care units may be available on the premises of assisted living communities, they are two different forms of care.

Memory care is a more distinct and focused type of long-term care requiring medical staff that is skilled and experienced in specific types of patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other memory issues. Memory care units are also referred to as special care units (SCUs), and generally offer supervised care 24 hours a day that is located in a separate wing or floor than residential communities.

Similar to assisted living, if loved ones are not able to care for themselves because of progressive impairments, memory care is a residential option. Beyond offering help with daily activities, such as with assisted living, skilled staff are trained to help those with impaired cognition or dementia. In addition, the overall security and physical layout of memory care facilities are designed for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s to minimize wondering behavior, while providing a pleasant environment that is simple to navigate.

Furthermore, memory care facilities also require a generalized state level license, as well as being regulated within 23 states by special care unit disclosure laws that require the care provider to disclose any special services provided. Although, due to these laws not being universal yet, it is important that the caregiver carefully researches a facility prior to deciding on a location.

Long-Term Cost Comparison

Both memory care and assisted living are subject to many of the same factors: size of apartment or rooms, geographical location, shared or private space, and required services. However, when it comes to the overall costs, these are calculated a little differently for each form of care.

Usually, assisted living communities will charge a base monthly rate that covers two or three meals per day, and room and board. On average, the costs of a 1-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility is $3,300 per month, depending on location. There are facilities that provide housekeeping or laundry within the base rate, while others will charge additional fees for these services. Because of this, it is important thatyou obtain a breakdown of the cost from each facility you look into.

Due to memory care providing more specialized care and round the clock nursing services, which regular assisted living facilities do not provide, it results in costs being higher. On average, it is $5,000 per month, but this can vary greatly. Luckily, there are options that assist in paying these costs for senior care to lower out-of-pocket expenses, including Medicaid, Medicare, and veteransbenefits.

Services Provided in Assisted Living and Memory Care

The regulations on what services should be offered at senior care communities vary by state. However, both assisted living and memory care usually offer basic supervised care, medical monitoring, and daily assisted with activities that include bathing, mobility, and dressing. The following are other services commonly offered by both forms of care:

  • Emergency call system
  • 24-hour security and supervision staff
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Three meals per day
  • Exercise and health programs
  • Transpiration
  • Social activity programs
  • Access to medical care

In addition to the base monthly rates, some of these service may be an additional cost.

In addition, memory care facilities will commonly include more structured activity programs that are designed to help nurture residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s. For example, “Reminiscence neighborhoods” is a program offered by Sunrise Senior Living with indoor and outdoor space that’s designed to provide a soothing and safe environment, with trained staff and a variety of familiar activities available.

Assisted Living or Memory Care, Which Should I Choose?

If you are not immediately concerned about dementia or Alzheimer’s and your loved one is still able to be independent, but needing assistance with some activities, assisted living would be the best option.  Although, if your loved one is in need of more detailed care due to memory impairment, you might want to begin considering a memory care facility, or at least an assisted living community with a special care unit for those suffering with memory issues.

Memory Care & Assisted Living in Arizona

Senior Living Services offers Memory Care Services in Gilbert, Mesa, Peoria, Sedona, Sun City, Sun City West and Surprise, Arizona. If you have a family member that would live better, safer, and more healthy is a memory care or assisted living setting SLS Communities has multiple locations in Arizona to serve you and your family.

Our compassionate staff removes the burden of daily chores and worry for seniors to allow them to enjoy activities and social experiences.  Staff tailors the level of care to each resident of our assisted living and memory care living communities to offer residents the level of care they need and want.  If you would like more information about which type of care would fit best, a list of our locations in Arizona, or want to schedule a visit please visit slscommunities.com or call 480-348-0300

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